|Fig 1. The Sixth Sense (1999)|
Perhaps this lack of extremes is what allows the film to be scary and touching at the same time, "...subtlety is the key throughout, not big ding-dong stingers but evocative trails and hints of the truth...Shyamalan's direction is the model of restraint - disquiet and stillness pervade while he expertly utilizes sound to enhance the discomforting feeling that something indefinable being present (allowing the audience its own 'sixth sense')," (Nathan, 2000). Through subtle cues, the audience can pick up when something is wrong without the face of a rotten corpse popping onto screen or a sudden screeching sound effect deafening the audience.
|Fig 2. Misty Breath|
Osment's acting gives Cole a maturity that signals to the audience that he's been through things that most people haven't. This adult-ness and ability to communicate with adults in a way that is interesting for the audience encourages us to connect to his character and Malcolm (Bruce Willis). Both actors perform in a way that allows them to have meaningful dialogue without the child sounding ignorant or the adult appearing to be condescending towards the child. Cole and Malcolm (and the actors playing them) are equals throughout the film.
|Fig. 3 Cole and Malcolm|
After watching, it is hard to put it under the 'horror' category completely because Cole and Malcolm's relationship and the twist ending shows there is so much more to it. Shyamalan managed to achieve a deep, heartfelt story while integrating subtle horror cues that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Looking back after watching the ending, its easy to see all the hints which leaves the viewer wondering, 'How did I not see that coming? I have to watch it again.'
Ebert, R. (1999) The Sixth Sense At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-sixth-sense-1999 Accessed on: 12/4/2016
Holden, S. (1999) Film Review; A Boy Who Sees the Dead, and a Psychologist Determined Not to Fail Him At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9802E3DB1430F935A3575BC0A96F958260 Accessed on: 12/4/2016
Howe, D. (1999) A Chillingly Intense 'Sense' At: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/movies/reviews/sixthsensehowe.htm Accessed on: 12/4/2016
Nathan, I. (2000) Empire Essay: The Sixth Sense Review At: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/empire-essay-sixth-sense/review/ Accessed on: 12/4/2016
Figure 1. The Sixth Sense [Poster] At: http://img.goldposter.com/2015/04/The-Sixth-Sense_poster_goldposter_com_14.jpg Accessed on: 12/4/2016
Figure 2. Misty Breath [Film Still] At: http://images.myreviewer.co.uk/fullsize/0000222764.jpg Accessed on: 12/4/2016
Figure 3. Cole and Malcolm [Film Still] At: http://www.themoviedistrict.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/thesixthsense06B.jpg Accessed on: 12/4/2016